WARLOCK III: Page 3 of 4

Publication Date: 25th May 2007


However, the story of the gentle young alien was far from over. Unbeknownst to his friends, the Genoshans still retained or somehow acquired some of Warlock’s remains. Desperate to rebuild their nation following the destruction of their mutate-based economy, they sold a sample of Warlock’s techno-organic form to an unknown agency composed of scientists. Apparently working for a mutant-hating group calling themselves the “Friends of Humanity,” their goal was to use Warlock’s unique traits to create a new breed of mutant-hunting Sentinels.  They enlisted Dr. Stephen Lang, the X-Men’s old foe and one of the early creators of Sentinels, to serve as their cybernetic interface with the collective of techno-organic creatures they were about to create, who would call themselves The Phalanx. As part of their scheme, the Phalanx’s creators kidnapped and absorbed into itself various associates of the X-Men. They also somehow got hold of the memory engrams of Doug Ramsey; either Warlock’s body cells had stored his friend’s personality files from their many mergers or Douglas had indeed been infected with the Transmode Virus before his death and a genetic sample was stolen from his grave. Whatever the case, the result was a Phalanx member who not only possessed some of the memories, skills and personality traits of the late Cypher, but also attempted to defy Lang’s control of the collective. [X-Factor (1st series) #106, Uncanny X-Men #313]

This new entity’s individuality was further strengthened by the techno-organic beacon of the time-displaced android called Zero. Answering Zero’s call for aid, the entity found he had been separated from the Phalanx collective. When asked his name, he searched his files and responded, “Ramsey, Doug.” Zero had recently developed sentience himself and he helped “Doug” to fully liberate himself from the Phalanx and tried to pass on what he had already learned about human nature, compassion and emotion. In return, Doug helped Zero battle those who sought to destroy him.

These same hunters drew the attention of the mutant team known as Excalibur. Among the team was Shadowcat, who had been close friends with Doug Ramsey when he was alive. She was intensely disturbed by this new techno-organic being’s resemblance to her long-dead friend and made no qualms about expressing this. Out of deference to her distaste for his appearance, the entity took the name Douglock. At first, Douglock claimed to care only for his self-preservation. But his efforts to protect innocents endangered by the drones hunting Zero and his willingness to sacrifice himself to save Zero from destruction proved this to be inaccurate. In the end, Zero was destroyed but not before he downloaded some of the data he had amassed in his life into Douglock. Unfortunately, these files were encrypted and Douglock couldn’t access them.[Excalibur (1st series) #77-80]

Douglock remained with Excalibur following these events. Even though she was absolutely convinced that the techno-organic being was not Doug Ramsey reborn, Kitty Pryde spent some time with Douglock to determine what connection he truly had to her late friend. She showed him pictures of Doug Ramsey with his friends in an attempt to jar any of Doug’s memories he might retain. When he initially failed to provide any evidence one way or the other,  Kitty pushed him away. Douglock realized that he longed for what he saw in the photos: friends and a sense of belonging. He had never been alone since he was “born” into the Phalanx’s hive-mind and, afterwards, he had Zero as a companion. Kitty suggested for him to stay with Excalibur so that together they might further explore whatever connection he might have to the late Cypher; additionally it provided them with a chance to learn more about the Phalanx. [Excalibur (1st series) #81]

They wouldn’t have to wait long, as soon the Phalanx marshaled their forces and began to actively hunt down mutants to assimilate into their collective.  When they co-opted Muir Island in an attempt to incorporate members of Excalibur, Douglock stood against them. The team fled and eventually joined forces with X-Factor and X-Force. This led to Douglock’s first meeting with members of the New Mutants, Cannonball and Wolfsbane. Rahne was overjoyed to see her old friend, Doug Ramsey, alive once more, but Douglock immediately corrected her stating that he was merely the “cerebral and genetic imprint” of Cypher and Warlock as interpreted by the Phalanx. Douglock willingly shared with the assembled heroes what he knew of the Phalanx’s evolution and his own knowledge of his origins.

However, all of a sudden, he seemingly turned on his new allies, abducting Wolfsbane, Cannonball and Forge and teleporting them to a Phalanx outpost in the Swiss Alps. There, he convinced them that, in order to  stop the Phalanx’s plans to assimilate all life on Earth, they must themselves be infected with a small amount of the Transmode Virus, in order to pass into the Phalanx’s stronghold. Wolfsbane wholeheartedly agreed to help, expressing her belief in Douglock’s innate goodness. Cannonball was not so trusting but eventually agreed to help. Together, they made their way to the Babel Spire, a huge communication beacon that would alert the Phalanx’s interstellar progenitors that the Earth was ready for complete assimilation. Douglock pretended to betray his friends to the Phalanx and pledged his loyalty to the collective, but the Phalanx member called Shinar saw through Douglock’s ruse. Shinar incorporated Douglock into the Babel Spire, though he still maintained his free will and, along with Cannonball and Wolfsbane, he climbed to the top of the tower to destroy it. Their efforts came too late and they were unable to stop the transmission, but Douglock at least manage to scramble and redirect it as he jumped into it, thus blocking the power flow with his own body. His sacrifice destroyed the tower and freed the humans who had been assimilated to build it. The techno-organic Phalanx dissolved, as with the tower destroyed they had lost their purpose and their motivation to keep on fighting. To the surprise of everyone, Douglock pulled himself back together from the Phalanx‘ remains, stating that unlike the Phalanx he had something to live for. [Phalanx Covenant: Life Signs crossover, Warlock #1]

Shortly after Excalibur returned to Muir Island, Kitty Pryde received a package from her mother of things she’d left behind when she left Xavier’s. Among them was a computer disc with the personal journal of Doug Ramsey. Reading it, she learned how Doug may have been infected with the Transmode Virus. This strengthened her belief that Douglock was indeed Doug Ramsey and that he had returned to life via a techno-organic transformation. She shared the discs with Douglock, who in no uncertain terms denied being what Kitty so fervently wished him to be. Through this, Shadowcat acknowledged the feelings of loss of Doug’s death that still lingered for her and that this was making it hard for her to simply accept Douglock for who he was. [Excalibur Annual #2]

Douglock continued to search for a sense of self and a fuller reconciliation between his Phalanx side and the template personality of Doug Ramsey. This quest was abruptly interrupted when Douglock was kidnapped by the British intelligence group called Black Air. In their study of Douglock, Black Air unlocked the data that Zero had previously transferred into Douglock’s consciousness. This included data pertaining to the Legacy Virus which had been unleashed on mutantkind by Zero’s former master, Stryfe. They then passed Douglock on to their allies in the London branch of the Hellfire Club. The Inner Circle used Douglock as a power conduit in their plot to awaken a demonic entity deep below the city. Luckily, Excalibur arrived and liberated Douglock after disrupting the Hellfire Club’s plans. [Excalibur (1st series) #97-100]

Following his abduction by Black Air, Douglock continued to form a distinct personality independent of the Phalanx’s influence and the Doug Ramsey template. He considered changing his appearance but was convinced not to by Wolfsbane, who had also joined Excalibur in the meantime and who accepted him as his own person but liked the reminder of her old friend. Despite her acceptance, Douglock was plagued by doubts and nightmares around his uncertain identity. Determined to prove once and for all that Douglock was somehow Cypher reborn, Kitty took Douglock and Wolfsbane to visit the grave of Doug Ramsey. There, she phased down into Doug’s grave and was shocked to find that Doug’s remains were in their rightful place. Despite this revelation, Kitty was still determined to prove that Douglock was Doug Ramsey. She took him to their favorite pizza joint and the house that Cypher grew up in to try and trigger his memory. When she saw that Doug’s parents had converted his old room into a den, Kitty realized that they had accepted his death and that she needed to do so as well. She was finally able to say good-bye to Doug and accept Douglock as his own person. [Excalibur (1st series) #104-105]

Douglock’s friendship with Wolfsbane continued to grow, as did their affections for each other. The pair shared a single passionate kiss before Rahne departed for a long-overdue reunion with her New Mutants teammates. After Kitty Pryde called Douglock on his “crush” on Wolfsbane, he hurried off to find her in New York. Douglock hitched a ride on the bottom of Rahne’s flight to the US and surprised both her and the former New Mutants. During the trip, Douglock came face-to-face with past version of both Warlock and Cypher, who had traveled into the future on a dare alongside their New Mutants teammates. The encounter helped Douglock and Wolfsbane to grow even closer. [Excalibur (1st series) #113, New Mutants: Truth or Death #1-3]